We’ve all heard stories of the lady that slipped in Wal-Mart and was awarded millions of dollars in a settlement. With stories like that, it seems to be a misconception that property owners are automatically responsible for any injury or damages suffered on their property. Many to learn that this is far from the truth. There are circumstances where property owners are responsible for the harms and losses relating to injuries suffered on their property.
In the state of South Carolina, Property owners owe specific duties to people on their property. When property owners breach those duties and injuries result, the property owner could be held responsible for the damages.
We refer generally to the duties owed by a property owner and the liability that arises from a breach of those duties as “Premises Liability.” In South Carolina Premises Liability cases, the law is well established. In order to recover damages, the injured victim must prove that the owner of the property breached a duty owed to the injured party. The most common example of premises liability cases involve a slip and fall in a store.
South Carolina categorizes the type of duties owed to the persons on the owner’s premises. A person shopping or visiting a store would be categorized as an “Invitee.” Store owners owe an invitee a duty of due care to avoid creating unreasonable risks/hazards and to discover unreasonable risks/hazards on their premises. In a slip and fall case, store owners are responsible only if the injured party can prove:
a) that the owner actually placed the foreign substance on the floor; or
b) that the owner knew or should have known that the substance was on the floor.
Slip and fall cases can be challenging. The challenges become proving the owner of the property breached a duty owed to the injured party.